Barre-Lieou Syndrome and TMJ

Marc Darrow, MDMarc Darrow, MD

Headaches, Neck, & Jaw Pain

Although the common headache usually responds quite well to aspirin or other over the counter medications, those who’ve experienced the torment of migraines or cluster headaches are often frustrated by the lack of any effective cure. Drugs developed specifically for such headaches are effective, but the relief they provide is temporary. Until the root of the problem is unearthed and corrected, the headaches will persist, and prolonged drug therapy to relieve them will be necessary, along with the possibility of addiction.

In rare cases, the problem is traced to cysts or brain tumors, but more often it is related to muscular or ligamentary tension. Most people know the phrase tension headache but not many–doctors included–are aware that neck ligaments refer pain directly to the head. In cases where no cyst or tumor is found but headaches persist, Prolotherapy may be in order.

A physician skilled in diagnosing trigger points and recognizing referred pain signals should be consulted in such cases.

Barre-Lieou Syndrome

Barre-Lieou Syndrome is characterized by a grab bag of diverse symptoms, all of which are rooted in the sympathetic nervous system, specifically the cluster of nerves located in the posterior cervical area at the back of the neck. It is caused when the sympathetic nerves are pinched by loose, weakly supported vertebrae. These nerves are part of the autonomic nervous system that regulates the body’s functions, a myriad of activities ranging from such critical functions as your heartbeat and breathing to countless minor ones.

Problems that may be due to Barre-Lieu Syndrome:

  • Headache
  • Sinusitis
  • Chronic Allergies
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Chest Pain
  • Face Pain
  • Eye Pain
  • Blurred Vision
  • Ear Pain
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Hoarseness
  • Laryngitis
  • Fatigue
  • Vertigo

If you have any of those symptoms, combined with neck pain, you may be a candidate for Prolotherapy.

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint is where the jaw meets the cranium. The condition known as temporomandibular joint syndrome develops from a combination of inter-related factors, usually starting with poor head posture that contributes to the stretching and weakening of the cervical ligaments and lateral TMJ ligaments. As a result, the lower jaw slips forward, aggravating the situation further by putting additional stress on the ligaments and the joints.

One characteristic of TMJ is the loud popping or clicking of bones rubbing together in the loosened joint, accompanied by pain and stiffness as the muscles tighten, trying to compensate for the instigating laxity.

Conventional treatments include TMJ arthroscopy and various types of surgery, TMJ implants, injections of botulinum toxins, and cauterization. All of these are invasive and somewhat risky, and treat the immediate problem while largely ignoring future consequences.

Prolotherapy is a highly effective treatment for TMJ Syndrome, particularly when the related neck ligaments are treated along with the TMJ ligaments. By strengthening these two sets of ligaments, Prolotherapy can eliminate not only the existing TMJ (and any neck-related) problems, but also helps to circumvent recurrences as well.


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